The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

A Little Change Can Lead To A Lot Of Change.
August 29, 2012, 6:01 am
Filed under: Comment

On Saturday, September 4th, 2004 – at around 11am – I had my first date with my now wife at Bar Contessa on Darling Street, Balmain, Sydney.

It was also the first time we met thanks to an incident involving her inability to reverse park and my unbridled generosity to come to her aid.

It was a weird day.

As we walked into the coffee shop, I sat down and was surprised to see her sit next to me.

Not opposite – as protocol states – but right next to me.

I thought that was the coolest thing I had ever seen in my life.

By that simple action, I felt I’d was in the company of someone different … someone interesting … someone special.

I know that makes me sound like I was some kind of loser, and maybe I was/am, but that simple gesture made a massive impression on me, demonstrated by the fact that within weeks of that initial meeting, we were living together in Singapore … having bypassed the issues of not really knowing each other, having to tell our families what we were doing, packing our houses and selling our cars and – in my case – being rushed to hospital for an emergency operation.

But the point of this post isn’t that you shouldn’t rush into things – though that might be what Jill would say – it’s that we tend to follow a set of ‘work protocols’ that ultimately work against us.

What do I mean?

Well when you have a meeting with a client, do you sit next to them or opposite them?

In other words, do you create an atmosphere of opposing sides or togetherness?

What about when you email a client?

Do you always have a reason for contact or do you sometimes write just to say ‘hello?’

I remember when we first started cynic.

With the bear minimum in place, we managed to get our first client – Virgin.

We were incredibly excited right until we saw the contract and read that their terms of business stated payment was in [I think] 90 days.

The reality was we had launched the company on an absolute shoestring so we had just about enough money to last us 30 days.

In other words, we were in this mad situation where we had a client – a prestigious client – but we couldn’t afford to take on their business.

Against all professional company protocol, we approached them and asked if they would agree to 30 day payment terms instead … and guess what, they said yes.

Alright, confession time …

1. We had literally nothing to lose in asking.
2. I’m hardly known for my sense of professionalism.
3. George – most importantly – was [and is] a personal friend of Mr B, so they were hardly going to fuck off their bosses mate.

… but the fact is, because we asked and they said yes, we were able to embark on a wonderful adventurous experiment that lasted 8 glorious years .

But what if we hadn’t asked?

What if we felt ‘the unspoken rules’ of business protocol had to be followed?

Well, let’s be honest, no one will ever know but I’m pretty confident I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing, doubt I’d of done what I’d done, doubt I’d of lived where I’d lived and doubt I’d be married to who I married.

In short, I feel that single question changed the course of my professional career, just like Jill’s simple gesture changed – for better or worse – the rest of her life.

The point of this post is that we like to stick with ways of living and working because it’s what we feel is ‘the norm’ and while I’m not advocating a total change of approach and behaviour just to shake things up, it might be worth reviewing the way you do things because by simply changing a few things here or there, it may literally change the way the rest of your career – if not life – turns out.

For the better.


50 Comments so far
Leave a comment

So you’re saying George is responsible for all this?

Comment by John

no. its tricky dickies fucking fault for not putting a fucking stop to campbells dream when he had the fucking chance.

Comment by andy@cynic

then auntie georges fault.

Comment by andy@cynic

then uk immigration for not introducing stricter rules about people from fucking nottingham travelling outside fucking nottingham.

Comment by andy@cynic

then me for talking to him rather than hitting him when i had the misfuckingfortune of meeting him.

Comment by andy@cynic

And can we have Jill’s version of events please. Not so we can take the piss, but because it would be interesting to know why she did what she did.

Comment by John

there is nothing jill can say to justify what the fuck she did. but she is suffering the consequences for her madness so i wont take the piss.

Comment by andy@cynic

I think the real story goes like this.

Rob sees Jill.
Rob walks up to Jill.
Rob asks Jill, “does this rag smell of chloroform to you?”

Comment by DH

Have you been talking to the Police about me?

Comment by Rob

But you’re right, questioning the status quo is the route to more interesting outcomes. Hiding behind the protocols is the option of those who are scared of being different which, ironically, is the holy grail of every business.

Comment by John

are my eyes deceiving me or are you giving a sensible and fucking agreeable answer to campbells post. hasnt the plight of poor jill shown you what can fucking happen if you do that. are you fucking mental?

Comment by andy@cynic

Fair point, but I would never make the mistake of sitting next to him.

Comment by John


Comment by andy@cynic

i bet jill will be so fucking happy to learn her first interaction with her future fuckwit husband is now being used as a lesson for fucking planners to be better at their stupid, pointless jobs. and they say romance is dead. i got fucking divorced for less. prepare for a bollock kicking campbell. it goes without fucking saying you deserve it.

Comment by andy@cynic

It could lead to a whole new concept in valentines day cards.

Comment by DH

What with this … the life sized cardboard cut out of me … and the fact I did a presentation to CMO’s this morning linking the reasons I love my wife to the lessons of great brands … I reckon this qualifies me as the World’s most romantic man, don’t you?

Comment by Rob

Bored Andrew?
A number of valuable lessons in this post Robert, but I’m not sure using the early days of your relationship with Jill as a guide for achieving better results in your job is one of them.

Comment by George

not bored. fucking sickened at the lack of respect campbell has shown his missus. im almost as sickened as the day i found out this random bird he met walking down the fucking street was a fucking babe.

i swear to fucking god shes either a secret scientist conducting an experiment on him or he sold his soul to the devil. has to be the former, his soul cant be worth all the good shit hes managed to fucking pull off in his life. but then how else has he managed to do it. its a fucking mystery.

im going to get pissed. seems the only proper course of fucking action to take after all this.

Comment by andy@cynic

Happy now?

Comment by Rob

What George said.

Comment by Pete

I wasn’t aware we had agreed to that. You learn something new every day.

Comment by Lee Hill

You’re just another innocent victim left in the wake of Rob’s behaviour.

Comment by DH

Strictly speaking, that was caused by George.

Comment by Bazza

Thank you for nothing Baz.

Comment by George

Well said Baz.

As for you Lee … look on the brightside, by not knowing, your probably decision couldn’t be overturned and result in you feeling bad about a whole bunch of stuff.

Comment by Rob

This isn’t a post about ignoring the rules. It uses Jill and Virgin as a warning for what happens when you don’t follow the rules.

Comment by DH

excellent fucking bastardness there dave.

Comment by andy@cynic

Praise from the master.

Comment by DH

That really is rather good insulting.

Comment by Rob

how many bears is the minimum to start an agency?

Comment by katiechatfield

I always get that wrong.

Which ‘bear/bare’ should I use.

That’s a genuine question by the way.

Comment by Rob

Rule of thumb: you can’t use bear as an adjective, so unless you’re describing a mammal, bear is a verb….

My team have been having ‘fun’ with this all week. For us it started off with an innocent ‘bare with me’ line in an email…and now there seems to be some kind of Photoshop smack-down frenzy to find the silliest bare/bear malapropism. So proud.

Comment by katiechatfield

You have just explained why many years ago, I never heard back from an agency I wanted to work at.

Thank you.

Comment by Rob

Yeah, go ahead and convince yourself that was the reason.

Comment by John

And you should avoid having any bears in an agency. They always end up doing what they normally do in the woods.

Comment by John

Some people in adland call what bears produce in the woods, “the creative brief”.

Comment by Rob

this makes me smile as Catherine (the gf) prefers to sit next to me instead of opposite me also.

at first i found it kinda weird (Rob you’ve met her, she is weird haha!), but now it’s just “her” and i love her for it.

Comment by Age

Im surprised Andy didn’t mention it but if you sit in front of someone it’s harder to stab them in the back.

Comment by John

How long did it take you to think that up John?

Comment by Rob

Less than a second. Didn’t post it last night because I didn’t want to detracct from an intelligent discussion of your post. Best laid plans etc

Comment by John

As it happens Mrs Northern and I moved in after 8 weeks.
I got her pissed on the first date, no need for charm (or looks) when you have Sancerre

Comment by northern

No wonder you’re called the Casanova of the North.

Comment by Rob

Or at least Groper

Comment by northern

where is Billy Whizzzzz ?

Comment by toto

I’ll be anywhere you want me to be for $1000 per hour.

Comment by Billy Whizz

I want you to go to a Red Square,Moscow and do something extraordinary to show a support for “Pussy Riot” girls. Can you do this ?

Comment by toto

Can you pay?

Comment by Billy Whizz

No i can’t Billy. Of course i can’t. But don’t you feel bad for what happened to them. You could do it for free.
And what would you actually do if i paid to you ?

Comment by toto

Trust me, Billy only moves for booze, money or sin.

Though in my experience with him, it’s mainly booze.

Comment by Rob

How sweet 🙂

If something isn’t right, change it, or at least start doing it better yourself.

Comment by Rob Mortimer (Not a fake Andy)

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